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Delusional Disorder

Delusional disorder , previously called paranoid disorder, is a type of serious mental illness called a "psychosis" in which a pe...

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Sociopath Test

Sociopath test: How to spot them before they target you

Everyone wants to know how to identify a sociopath, it's one of the most frequently asked questions I get. The problem is that no one has discovered a definitive means of identifying them, even in a clinical setting with trained psychologists, even with a brain scanner. For the average layperson, the advice for spotting a sociopath is as varied and unreliable as "evil eyes," social parasite/criminal, and (my favorite for being both too specific and overbroad) Martha's Stout's "pity play" litmus test. I had hoped that there would be physical manifestations of sociopathy, but the results, while suggestive of potential promising areas of follow-up (why don't sociopaths take cold medicine?), were far from scientific or conclusive. Still, from my own personal experience with sociopaths, I believe that there are some easily observable behaviors or traits that correlate relatively well with sociopathy. I came up with 12.
1. Sociopaths typically don't smalltalk about themselves as much as normal people do. They will direct the conversation back to the new acquaintance as much as they can.

2. A sociopath will reveal "personal" details about himself strategically, i.e. for the purposes of misdirection or a false sense of intimacy/trust. Revelations of actual truths are very rare and may be perceived as a small slip of the mask.

3. Sociopaths frequently hesitate before responding. It will be unclear to you whether they are bored, annoyed, lying, or all three.

4. No strong reactions to illogical hotbed political/social topics (e.g. Octomom or Catholic priest child molestation).

5. Monotone voice (I am told).

6. A tendency to take things too literally or otherwise not respond appropriately to small emotional cues.

7. Cold indifference to one or more family members.

8. Seemingly a different person when "distracted."

9. Disconnect between what the sociopath says and does, e.g. seems charitable but does not give money to homeless or vice versa.

10. Never shows signs of embarrassment. Easily wins over large crowds with confidence. "Poise" in this case = lack of nerves.

11. Does not fit stereotypes for gender, race, ethnicity, religion, age, sexual orientation, or career. Could seem foreign, bisexual, older or younger, pious, wealthy or poor, but may also just seem unplaceable.
12. Can flip flop between keeping a very low profile (the observer) to being the life of the party (the actor).
I don't think all of these would apply to all sociopaths, and certainly many of them apply to people who aren't sociopaths, however they all have the advantage of being directly observable by a layperson, at least without the aid of a brain scan or 10 page questionnaire. Also, because they're seemingly inconsequential and not directly related to the classic sociopath/antisocial traits, a sociopath would have less reason to mask them.

Do some of these seem particularly predictive or not? Any other suggestions? 
 
Copied from: http://www.sociopathworld.com

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

False Allegations and Personality Types

    se Allegations in Divorce and Custody Battles: The PersoFalnality Types of False Accusers and the Falsely Accused

The following article is from the August 23, 2011 AVfM Radio program on the criminal practice of making false allegations of abuse in order to gain the upper hand in divorce and custody battles. The radio version was edited down due to time constraints. Here’s everything I wrote for the show in its entirety:
Too many men have become the targets of false allegations. False allegations of domestic violence. False allegations of sexual assault. And false allegations of sexual abuse.
False allegations are lies and people who make false allegations are liars. A false allegation of abuse isn’t just any lie; it’s one of the most contemptible lies that exists. Even one victim of such a despicable lie is one victim too many.
Oftentimes, when a man finds himself the target of false allegations, he initially becomes paralyzed by shock and disbelief that a woman he once loved or still loves could perpetrate such a horrible lie upon him. The nightmare of false allegations is always compounded whenever children are involved.
What precipitates these kinds of false allegations?
Domestic violence literature holds that ending an abusive relationship is often the most dangerous time for the target of abuse. The classic stereotype is that of the alcoholic Neanderthal who beats his wife to death as she attempts to walk out the door after years of abuse.
For men, ending a relationship with an abusive woman is also often the most dangerous time.
Just like his female counterpart, when a man makes the agonizing decision to divorce an abusive wife, it may end in violence. Stories abound in the news of women killing their ex-husbands and their own children during divorce and custody battles. But women have another weapon at their disposal, which is just as lethal as any firearm or poison.
That weapon is the false allegation.
Many men, despite having been subjected to years of abuse, come a cropper when their ex makes a false allegation. How could someone you once loved and who supposedly loved you tell such horrible lies?
The simplest answer is that women who perpetrate false allegations are malicious and disturbed. Men also make false allegations and those that do are equally malicious and disturbed, but let’s face it, there are clear tactical advantages for women who fabricate false allegations.
Over the last 25 years, as the domestic violence and divorce industries have grown, a perverse system has developed in response to female initiated allegations of abuse in which the accuser is rewarded.
How are women rewarded for making false allegations?
They get attention. The person they hate is punished. They receive social approval. We all hate abusers and pedophiles, right? Look at that courageous woman who’s fighting to protect her child! Female false accusers may also receive free legal representation, welfare payments, free counseling and other support services and support from family, friends and neighbors — in other words, even more attention (Wakefield & Underwager, 1990).
Furthermore, there are very little, if any consequences for women who make false allegations in family court (Green & Schetky, 1988). Ultimately, the false accuser has far more to gain than she has to lose. However, I’m hopeful that we’ll soon be seeing more stories like that of Daryl Guinyard, the man who sued his ex-wife in civil court for making false sexual abuse allegations and was awarded $852,000 in punitive damages.
What happens to men when they’re falsely accused?
Many men experience a very rude awakening when they enter the justice system via false allegations. Perhaps the truth will prevail, but typically not without a considerable amount of collateral damage to themselves and their children.
When a man is accused of abusing a woman or child, any concept of due process and “innocent until proven guilty” flies out the window. Men are assumed guilty until proven innocent when a woman cries abuse or rape.
False allegations can turn a difficult divorce into full out nuclear war.
When a woman calls 911 and alleges violence, a man is often required to vacate the family home. If his wife follows up with an emergency protective order, he must then submit to prolonged alienation from his children. He becomes caught in both the criminal justice system and social service bureaucracies, which may result in jail time and/or court-ordered therapy while the real criminal, his lying wife, wins possession of both the children and the marital home.
Men who are falsely accused by their exes also face the threat of presumably well-intentioned, but zealous and biased mental health professionals and court evaluators who are quick to believe the accusations of the often highly emotional, female false accusers based on little to no evidence.
The falsely accused isn’t the only casualty of a court appointee’s or mental health evaluator’s rush to judgment. Both the accused and his children are hurt.
When the false allegations involve sexual abuse, children are subjected to a long process of interrogation, therapies and medical examinations, which can be invasive, confusing and traumatic. The falsely accused often suffers emotional and physical trauma, public humiliation, family breakdown and financial ruin. Furthermore, the relationship with his children may be irreparably damaged.
Fighting to prove his innocence can take years and become a financial expense many men simply can’t afford.
Just as false accusers rarely receive consequences for perverting and obstructing justice, court evaluators and mental health professionals who wrongly determine that abuse has occurred through their own incompetence and biases are rarely held accountable. The people who suffer the most negative consequences are the falsely accused and the children. This isn’t justice; it’s a mockery of justice.
What do we know about women who make false allegations?
Wakefield and Underwager (1990) determined that false accusers are much more likely to have a personality disorder such as histrionic, borderline, passive-aggressive, or paranoid. False accusers appear to be highly defensive and rigid, to have poor insight and a tendency to deny personal shortcomings. They tend to be extremely concerned about and sensitive to how others perceive them. False accusers tend to confuse feelings with facts. A woman may “feel” abused or may “feel” the children are being abused, when, objectively speaking, no abuse has actually occurred (Zepezauer, 1994).
Wakefield and Underwager (1990) found that:
[False accusers] are likely to misperceive the behavior of others and to react to stressful situations in maladaptive ways. Depending upon the specific personality disorder, they are characterized by instability of mood, impulsivity, inappropriate emotional overreactions, a need for approval and attention, and difficulties handling anger and conflict.
False accusers also have an obsessive hatred of and anger toward their ex-partner, so much so that their hatred and anger become a driving force in their lives. False accusers are individuals who hate their exes more than they love their children. Their hatred and anger trumps the needs and much ballyhooed best interests of their children.
What do we know about men who become the targets of false allegations of abuse?
They tend to be your average nice guy who has a more nurturing and passive personality. These men are unlikely to be socially aggressive or competitive and tend to lack insight into their personal relationships, which may explain why so many of these men are thrown for a loop when their ex throws them under the bus — even when she’s made threats throughout their marriage to call 911 and have him arrested (Wakefield & Underwager, 1990).
Additionally, these men, because of their sensitive and caring natures, may be more vulnerable to relationships with needy and manipulative women. Once in a relationship with a high-conflict (HCP) and/or abusive personality disordered woman (APDI), they may behave somewhat passively as they continue to naively hope that everything will magically work out in the end.
What are the identifiable characteristics of false allegation cases?
Ross and Blush (1987; 1990) have found certain patterns that characterize false allegation cases. For instance:
  1. The allegations start after separation and legal action commences.
  2. There’s a history of family dysfunction with high-conflict and other hidden underlying issues.
  3. Again, the female accuser is often a histrionic or borderline personality.
  4. The female accuser takes an angry, defensive and justifying stance.
  5. The accused male parent is generally nurturing, passive and lacks “macho” characteristics.
  6. In alleged sexual molestation cases, the child is typically a female under the age of 8.
  7. The allegations surface via the custodial parent who is typically the mother.
  8. The mother takes the child to an “expert” who corroborates the abuse and identifies the father as the culprit.
  9. The court reacts to the expert information by terminating or limiting visitation.
Ross and Blush also determined there are primarily three types of false accusers: the histrionic, the justified vindicator and the borderline.
The histrionic personality appears anxious and presents herself as the victim of her ex. She describes herself as physically and/or psychologically abused by her ex and worries that the children are also in danger of being victimized from him. She projects or superimposes her feelings, fears and distortions onto the children. She seems to have “unusual and inappropriate” sexual concerns about the children and may regularly examine the children’s genitals and take them for frequent medical examinations.
The justified vindicator initially presents as assertive and organized with a justifiable argument supported by “facts, figures and opinions supporting her evidence.” She comes across as outraged and worried about her ex’s behavior. However, as most high-conflict types do, she becomes resistant, hostile and passive-aggressive or overtly aggressive upon cross-examination of her claims. She’s likely to try to discredit any evaluator or law enforcement official that questions her assertions and may threaten to sue or file an ethics complaint.
The borderline personality has intense and chaotic interpersonal relationships and is prone to intense valuation and devaluation. They will attempt to punish others who they believe have abandoned or hurt them. False allegations are a highly effective way of doing this.
In my practice, I coach many men through the divorce process. Prior to pulling the pin and telling their abusive wives that the marriage is over, I help my clients create a safe exit strategy. I use the phrase “pulling the pin” deliberately, because divorcing an abusive, high-conflict and possibly personality disordered woman is often very much like handling a live grenade.
I warn every single male client who is about to divorce or break-up with an abusive partner that he may be at risk for becoming the target of false allegations.
Many men can’t comprehend how or why their partner or ex could fabricate such a lie. Even when their wives have threatened to call 911 during the relationship to intimidate and control them, they still have a difficult time believing that it could happen to them. Men whose wives or girlfriends have threatened to call the cops during their relationship to intimidate or control them are especially at risk should they decide to separate.
Counseling is not a consequence.
False allegations, even if they’re later disproved, rarely result in a completely happy ending for the accused and the children. Family court and law officials must begin implementing serious consequences — beyond the anemic “consequence” of outpatient counseling — for both women and men who make false allegations. Perhaps if women who are inclined to make false allegations knew there would be real life consequences such as jail time, fines and loss of custody, they wouldn’t be as likely to see making false allegations as a viable option.
Enough is enough.
Services:
Dr Tara J. Palmatier provides confidential, fee-for-service, consultation/coaching services to help both men and women work through their relationship issues via telephone and/or Skype chat. Her practice combines practical advice, support, reality testing and goal-oriented outcomes. Please visit the Shrink4Men Services page for professional inquiries.
References:
Blush, G. L. & Ross, K. L. (1990). Investigation and case management issues and strategies. Issues in Child Abuse Accusations (2) 3.
Blush, G. L. & Ross, K. L. (1987). Sexual allegations in divorce: The SAID syndrome. Conciliation Courts Review, 25(1).
Green, A. H., & Schetky, D. H. (1988). Child Sexual Abuse. New York:Brunner/Mazel.
Wakefield, H., & Underwager, R. (1990). Personality Characteristics of Parents Making False Accusations of Sexual Abuse in Custody Disputes. Issues In Child Abuse Accusations, 2(3), 121-136.  

Ronald Cornett's Petition for Custody




Ronald Cornett's Restraining Order for Protection from Harassment from Jodi Griffing


Monday, August 19, 2013

Woman Jailed after Five False Rape Allegations in Eight Years

Jul 092013
 
Woman is finally jailed after FIVE false rape allegations against her ex-boyfriends in eight years
  • Leanne Black, 32, falsely accused five partners of molesting her
  • Escaped justice for eight years but has now been given two years in prison
  • Judge tells her she has harmed genuine rape victims with her lies
By Daily Mail Reporter
9 July 2013
Leanne Black
Leanne Black
A woman who made a string of false rape allegations against five men in eight years was behind bars last night.
Leanne Black, 32, repeatedly cried rape with bogus sex assault reports to police after rowing or breaking up with her former partners.
In one case, Black claimed she had been drugged and raped. In another she told police a boyfriend kidnapped and molested her.
A court heard that her innocent partners would have faced up to five years in jail if they had been found guilty of such serious sexual allegations.
However, Black was herself jailed for two years, with a judge condemning her actions, telling her that genuine rape victims would be undermined by her lies.
The court heard that, in the most recent case in March, her boyfriend Kevin Crowley was held on suspicion of rape after he had called police to report she had thrown plates at him in their flat.
David Wooler, prosecuting, said officers arrived at the scene of the domestic argument at the home shared by Black and her boyfriend – and she turned the tables on him.
Mr Wooler said: ‘When she was questioned by police she told them her boyfriend had raped her while she slept at his flat.
‘It was the most recent in a number of repeated false rape allegations against men since 2005.’
Newport Crown Court heard that, in June 2005, Black had made a rape allegation but the case did not proceed.
In July 2006, she accused her then partner of raping her twice and also claimed she had been kidnapped and raped. In 2009, she claimed she had been the victim of a serious sexual assault.
And in 2010, she fabricated a story about being drugged and raped. Then, earlier this year, she made the accusations against Mr Crowley.
But she finally owned up, admitting one count of perverting the course of justice against Mr Crowley.
Judge William Gaskell told Black, of Cwmbran, South Wales, she had made it more difficult for genuine rape victims to be believed. He said: ‘Police have to take all allegations of rape very seriously.
‘Rape, when it happens, has a devastating effect for victims and causes great trauma. Many women never get over it.
‘Women who make false allegations like you undermine the whole system and police investigations.
‘It undermines the public’s belief in the truth when allegations are truthfully made.’
Gareth Driscoll, defending, said Black had entered an early guilty plea and made a full admission.
She will serve half her sentence before being released on licence.
Inspector Rory Waring, of Gwent Police, said the sentence should act as a warning to anyone thinking about making false allegations of rape.
He said: ‘As well as causing distress to innocent people accused of this terrible crime, cases like this distract officers from supporting real victims and prosecuting real offenders.
‘Those who have suffered from genuine offences are also undermined.’
Siobhan Blake, Deputy Chief Crown Prosecutor in Wales, said: ‘False allegations of rape are extremely uncommon, but where they do occur they are serious offences.
‘Such cases will be dealt with robustly and those falsely accused should feel confident that we will prosecute these cases wherever there is sufficient evidence and it is in the public interest to do so.
‘Earlier this year, the CPS published a report highlighting how rare false allegations of rape and domestic violence are.
‘We must not allow these cases to undermine our work to support victims of rape and domestic violence.
‘We want victims to feel able to report the abuse they have suffered and we are working hard to dispel the myths and stereotypes that can be associated with these cases.
‘One such misplaced belief is that false allegations of rape and domestic violence are widespread. We know that is not the case.’
Source: dailymail.co.uk




Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Abusive and Violent Women in Relationships

Abusive and Violent Women in Relationships
- Recognizing the Signs -
by Edward Steven Nunes




Abuse, violence, and lying are behaviors chosen by abusive women to cause emotional damage and worry and fear. These women are often promiscuous, selfish, and narcissistic. So they use their moods, rages, and impulses to control people around her and she cannot be satisfied until all others come to admire her. Then these women choose deceit, fury, and assault to get their own way and then they revel in the addicting exhilarating emotional unrest that they have created. In doing that, she presents a false image of herself to conceal her true character; she is addicted to her own personality and feeds on the emotions of others, for she is a narcissist who is in love with herself. So these women will lie, connive, and extort to get their own way.
These women are actors and their jealousy drives these women to unimaginable bounds while treating their partner as possessions to be isolated from friends and family. Moreover, these women will falsely accuse their partners of infidelity while they have affairs. Nearly all of them exhibit erratic mood changes because they are practiced actresses. That is the reason that they can play the play the multiple roles of the terrorist, the tyrant, the fiend, and the victim. Others tell of this their own books, for the term ‘crocodile tears’ entered our lexicon as ‘hypocritical sorrow’ ages ago.
So at some point, she will falsely accuse her spouse or partner of abuse although she is the abuser. This is simply lying by projection. However, the courts still refuse to recognize this established criminal behavior although the legal term is perjury. This is the reason that false allegations are a common feature in divorce proceedings and the courts continue to ignore the problem. By doing so, the courts have become part of the problem and false allegations have become a shrewish woman's weapon of choice. Nevertheless, the matter does not rest there.
The courts have encouraged all kinds of outrageous behaviors making false claims easy to fabricate and hard to refute. All she has to do is to sign a preprinted paper alleging abuse without affirming the truth of her allegations with no penalty goes with lying. This is why the officials do not allow witnesses speak for falsely accused men. They avoid them. Instead they go in the cover of night, as would a crook, to issue secret restraining orders that an impartial tribunal would not support. So this is irrefutable evidence that courts encourage false allegations of abuse. Any issue at law that is bogus is a lie. Nevertheless, many courts do nothing about it and so the lies continue without change. It is as if they came from a prepared script.
The problem is that when others believe her, they join in with more abuse. Now the frustrated husband or partner finds himself a victim of undeserved malice, defamation, and abuse. So when she does not show up at court, it is his fault and not a sign of her guilt. Justice is never blind to assigning blame to men but always appears blind to the truth. Now it is the courts way and so the abuse continues in an unending parade of broken promises, false hopes, and lies.
These women crave the sadistic erotic pleasure that comes from destroying their husband. So they create a climate of terror. Others call this sensation ‘walking on pins and needles’ because these women cannot be satisfied. This is the reason that she does not change. She enjoys hurting others and she is addicted to the sexual release that often follows her moods. These women have no limits and so their outrageous behavior escalates to unbelievable levels but still, no one believes the victim. While DNA testing might disprove abuse, many courts still refuse to require testing. This only bolsters her belief that she remains in control and that is exactly what she wants.
This is one reason that some women fake or inflict injuries on themselves, or use an accomplice, a relative or new lover, to frame her husband. The most common behaviors are pressing false criminal charges, stealing or destroying property, snatching children, and engaging in bad faith litigation. This is why the courts must treat an abusive wife with unrelenting resolve for she is the criminal and not her husband.
Once your spouse or companion has chosen abuse, end the relationship promptly and irrevocably before she accuses others of her of own behavior. In psychology, the students call this phenomenon projection. So get a restraining order, change the locks and sue in civil court. If the assailant is your spouse, file for divorce and use a recording device to prove your claim. Most have a time/date stamp that is based on an atomic clock maintained by the National Institute of Standards and Technology. Some recording devices have embedded frame counters to discourage frame editing and other tampering.
The courts must realize that many women derive sadistic pleasure by destroying their husbands through extended litigation. Sadism is a perversion where a person seeks (sexual) gratification by inflicting cruelty and mental pain on others. Punishing men for the transgressions of guilty women is wrong and that courts must abolish practice because these women chose to be violent and they chose to lie. They are addicted to inflicting abuse. Abusive women and the mandatory arrest policy are a plague on society and they only add more to the harm.
These women chose to be violent and they chose to lie and nothing can change the evidence that some women are addicted to abusing others. So the police are arresting men for what these women do and DNA testing has proved that. Punishing men for the transgressions of guilty women is wrong and the courts must abolish that practice.

So any threat from her, or her representative, must be considered a credible threat that we cannot ignore. Any claim based on immunity whether judicial or based on gender would be proof of claimant's guilt. Moreover, it should not take years to decide an issue unless the court is corrupt. Stalling and the failure to appear is also proof of guilt. So once your spouse has chosen abuse, end the relationship promptly and irrevocably. Get a restraining order, change the locks and evict the bullying shrew.

Edward Steven Nunes

Notes: Sadism is a sexual perversion in which gratification occurs through the infliction of physical or mental pain on others. Since this evokes a physical and mental response, it often results in cruelty and lying. So these women are, in a sense, emotional vampires and this is true of some men. However, when a woman falsely claims rape or abuse, she satisfying her sexual cravings (debauchery).

Thursday, May 23, 2013

From Where You Are

May 25th in National Missing Children's Day

Malicious Mother Syndrome (Excerpt)

MALICIOUS MOTHER SYNDROME (Excerpt)
http://www.fact.on.ca/Info/pas/turkat97.htm
DIVORCE-RELATED, MALICIOUS MOTHER SYNDROME
Another syndrome -- the divorce-related, malicious mother syndrome -- has been identified in cases in which mothers not only try to alienate their children from their fathers, but are committed to a broadly based campaign to hurt the father directly (Turkat, 1995). The diagnostic criteria for this syndrome are listed in Figure 1.
Some examples of the more extreme behavior observed in such individuals include the following: making one's children sleep in a car to prove that their father has bankrupted them; burning down the house of the ex-husband: making false allegations of sexual abuse; manipulating other people to harass the ex-husband: spreading vicious lies about the ex-husband; trying to get the ex-husband fired from his job; and driving an automobile into the ex-husband's living room.
Women with this syndrome interfere chronically with visitation. Though they also engage in serious attempts to alienate the child from the father, they an not always successful. Thus, a full parental alienation syndrome is not required for a diagnosis of divorce-related. malicious mother syndrome.
In addition. these women are skillful liars, highly manipulative, and quite adept at recruiting others to participate in the campaign against the father. As is true of parental alienation syndrome, there is an absence of necessary research on this abnormality.
    Figure 1:
    Diagnostic Criteria for Divorce-Related, Malicious Mother Syndrome
    (Adapted from Turkat, 1995, with permission of the publisher, Plenum Publishing, New York.)

  1. A mother who unjustifiably punishes her divorcing or divorced husband by:
    • attempting to alienate their mutual child(ren) from the father;
    • involving others in malicious actions against the father;
    • engaging in excessive litigation.
  2. A mother who specifically attempts to deny her child(ren):
    • regular, uninterrupted visitation with the father;
    • uninhibited telephone access to the father;
    • paternal participation in the child(ren)'s school life and extracurricular activities.
  3. The mother's behavior is pervasive and includes malicious acts towards the husband, such as:
    • telling the child(ren) lies about the father;
    • telling others lies about the father;
    • acting against the father in ways that violate the law.
  4. The syndrome is not specifically due to another mental disorder, but another disorder may coexist.
Difficulties in the Courtroom.
Individuals with either of these syndromes may be willing and able to lie in court in a fully convincing way. Sometimes, their manipulative skills are so well developed that they are able to influence others to provide false testimony against the victimized parent. They may run circles around opposing counsel. When accused of visitation interference, they often have what appear to be wonderful explanations for their behavior; some may even be accurate. For example: "I offered many times for him to see his daughter but he just doesn't cooperate; every time he comes to pick up Billy, Billy cries and refuses to go: he never follows the schedule, your honor, no matter how hard I try. ..."
What typically is left out of such testimony is the fact that the interfering parent is either lying or has manipulated the child or the situation to give a false impression that he or she is innocent of the charges.
If the interfering parent continues to violate successfully the visitation regulations, over time the victimized parent often becomes so emotionally and financially depleted that the case fades from the court's purview. Unfortunately, outside of the courtroom, the visitation interference continues, often with increased strength.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Divorce Related Malicious Mother Syndrome

JOURNAL OF FAMILY VIOLENCE, VOLUME 10, NUMBER 3, p 253-264, 1995
DIVORCE RELATED MALICIOUS MOTHER SYNDROME
Ira Daniel Turkat, Ph.D.
With the increasing commonality of divorce involving children, a pattern of abnormal behaviour has emerged that has received little attention. The present paper defines the Divorce Related Malicious Mother Syndrome. Specific nosologic criteria are provided with abundant clinical examples. Given the lack of scientific data available on the disorder, issues of classification, etiology, treatment, and prevention appear ripe for investigation.
INTRODUCTION
A divorced man gains custody of his children and his ex-wife burns down his home. A woman in a custody battle buys a cat for her offspring because her divorcing husband is highly allergic to cats. A mother forces her children to sleep in a car to "prove" their father has bankrupted them. These actions illustrate a pattern of abnormal behavior that has emerged as the divorce rate involving children has grown.
Today, half of all marriages will end in divorce (Beal and Hochman, 1991). The number of children involved in divorce has grown dramatically (e.g., Hetherington and Arastah, 1988) as well. While the majority of such cases are "settled" from a legal perspective, outside the courtroom the battle continues.
The media has spent considerable effort raising public awareness about the problem posed by divorced fathers who do not provide court ordered child support payments. Hedges (1991) has noted that less than 20% of divorced fathers provide child support payments three years after their divorce. Research on the decline of women's economic status following divorce (e.g., Hernandez, 1988; Laosa, 1988) has contributed to recent legislation to address the "Deadbeat Dad" problem.
While the media correctly portrays the difficulties imposed upon women and children by the "Deadbeat Dad" phenomenon, the cameras have yet to capture the warfare waged by a select group of mothers against child support paying, law abiding fathers. Every day, attorneys and therapists are exposed to horror stories in which vicious behaviors are lodged against innocent fathers and children. Unfortunately, there are no scientific data on the subject. Similarly, the clinical literature has relatively ignored the problem.
A notable exception can be found in the clinical writings of Gardner (1987, 1989) who has provided excellent descriptions of the Parental Alienation Syndrome. Here, a custodial parent successfully engages in a variety of maneuvers to alienate the child from the non-residential parent. Once successfully manipulated, the child becomes "...preoccupied with deprecation and criticism of a parent-denigration that is unjustified and/or exaggerated" (Gardner, 1989 p. 226). In the typical case of Parental Alienation Syndrome, both mother and child engage in an array of abnormal actions against the rather. Gardner views "brainwashing" as a concept "too narrow" (Gardner, 1989) to capture the psychological manipulation involved in turning a child against his/her non-residential parent.
While Gardner's pioneering descriptions of the Parental Alienation Syndrome provide an important contribution to our understanding of divorce related child involved hostilities, the present paper is concerned with a more global abnormality. As noted in the examples provided in the beginning of this manuscript, serious attacks on divorcing husbands take place which are beyond merely manipulating the children. Further, these actions include a willingness by some mothers to violate societal law. Finally, there are mothers who persistently engage in malicious behaviors designed to alienate their offspring from the father, despite being unable to successfully cause alienation. In sum, these cases do not meet the criteria for Parental Alienation Syndrome. Nevertheless, they portray a serious abnormality.
The purpose of the present paper is to define and illustrate this more global abnormality with the hope of generating increased scientific and clinical investigation of this problem.
DEFINITION
The present section provides a beginning definition of the Divorce Related Malicious Mother Syndrome, which has been derived from clinical and legal cases. As in all initial proposals, it is anticipated that future research will lead to greater refinement in the taxonomic criteria. The proposed definition encompasses four major criteria, as follows:
  1. A mother who unjustifiably punishes her divorcing or divorced husband by:
    1. Attempting to alienate their mutual child(ren) from the father
    2. Involving others in malicious actions against the father
    3. Engaging in excessive litigation
  2. The mother specifically attempts to deny her child(ren):
    1. Regular uninterrupted visitation with the father
    2. Uninhibited telephone access to the father
    3. paternal participation in the child(ren)'s school life and extra-curricular activities
  3. Tile pattern is pervasive and includes malicious acts towards the husband including:
    1. Lying to the children
    2. Lying to others
    3. Violations of law
  4. The disorder is not specifically due to another mental disorder although a separate mental disorder may co-exist.
CLINICAL ILLUSTRATIONS
In this section, I will provide clinical illustrations for each criterion using the reference numbers provided above. As criteria 1-3 are behavior specific to the Malicious Mother Syndrome, I will provide a series of clinical examples. The fourth criterion which addresses the relationship of the proposed syndrome to other mental disorders, will be discussed more generally.
Criterion 1A: Alienating the Children
The range of actions taken by a mother to attempt to alienate her children from their father is impressive. For example:
One mother lied to her children that she could no longer buy food because their father had spent all of their money on women at topless bars.
A doctor's wife forced her 10 year old son to apply for federally funded free school lunches to delude the boy that his "daddy has made us poor."
A woman who for years was very close to the children in a custody battle, was asked by their mother to give up neutrality and join her campaign against the father to "dance on his grave." When the friend refused to give up her neutrality, the mother falsely informed her children that their father was having an affair with this woman.
These behaviors, if successful, could lead a child to not only hate the father but perhaps go years without seeing him. As Cartwright (1993) has noted: "The goal of the alienator is crystalline: to deprive the lost parent, not only of the child's time, but of the time of childhood" (p. 210).
Criterion 1B: Involving Others in Malicious Actions
The second component of the first major criterion where the mother attempts to punish the husband, involves manipulating other individuals to engage in malicious acts against the father. Examples of this kind are as follows:
During a custody battle, a mother lied to a therapist about the father's behaviour. The therapist, having never spoken with the father, appeared as an "expert" witness to inform the Judge that the mother should be the primary residential parent and that the father needed to be in therapy.
One angry mother manipulated teenagers to leave anonymous threatening notes at the ex-husband's home.
A mother who had lost legal custody of her child, manipulated a secretary at the child's school to assist in kidnapping the child.
In the above examples, it is important to note that the person manipulated by the angry mother has, in a way, been "alienated" against the divorcing husband. Typically, the individual "duped" takes on a righteous indignation, contributing to a rewarding climate for the mother initiating malicious actions.
Criterion 1C: Excessive Litigation
There is little question that either party in a divorce or custody proceeding is entitled to appropriate legal representation and action. Individuals suffering from Divorce Related Malicious Mother Syndrome, however, attempt to punish the divorcing husband by engaging in excessive litigation.
A belligerent and unreasonable mother verbally attacked her ex-husband whenever she saw him. Over time, his response was to ignore her. She then took him to court, asking the judge to require the ex-husband to talk with her.
One mother told a judge that her daughter was not really her divorcing husband's child.
One woman refused to stop attacking her ex-husband through the courts despite numerous attorneys being fired or voluntarily leaving the case. Over a three year period, seven different attorneys were utilized.
Data exist which can help in determining the range of excessive litigation. For example, Keel et al. (1988) report on the frequency of post-divorce litigation in a sample of 700 families. Their data indicate that only 12.7% of families file one post-divorce petition to the court, whereas less than 5% file two or more petitions (Keel at al. 1988); less than 1% file four or more petitions.
Criterion 2A: Denying Regular Visitation
Experts are in relative agreement that regular and uninterrupted visitation with the non-residential parent is desirable and beneficial for children, except in extreme circumstances (Hedges, 1991). In fact, some states, such as Florida, have laws written to reflect this view (Keane, 1990). Unfortunately, even when the father and children have legal rights to visitation, individuals with Divorce Related Malicious Mother Syndrome continue to interfere with it.
A mother who previously attacked her ex-husband physically during visitation transfers of the children, refused to provide the children when the ex-husband had the police attend to monitor exchanges.
When one divorced father arrived to pick up his children for visitation, the mother arranged for her and the children to be elsewhere so that the father could not visit with the children.
One mother had her physically intimidating boyfriend assault her ex-husband when he came to pick up his children for visitation.
The President of The Council for Children's Rights (Washington, D.C.) notes that such alienation is considered a form of child abuse (Levy, 1992). Unfortunately, the police typically avoid involving themselves in such situations. Furthermore, unless a victimized father is financially capable of returning to court on an ongoing basis, there is little that can be done to prevent such mothers' behavior. Finally, even when such cases are brought to trial, the courts are often inadequate in supporting fathers' visitation rights (Commission on Gender Bias in the Judicial System, 1992).
Criterion 2B: Denying Uninhibited Telephone Access
Given the physical absence of one parent, the telephone plays an important role in maintaining the bond between child and non-residential parent. Individuals suffering from Divorce Related Malicious Mother Syndrome engage in an array of actions designed to circumvent telephone access.
A father called to speak to his children and was told that they were not at home when in bet he could hear their voices in the background.
When one father called to speak with his children, the mother put him on "hold," informed no one, and then left him there.
Knowing that the children's father was away on vacation, one mother encouraged them to leave several messages on his answering machine to call back immediately only if he would like some additional visitation time with his children.
Some fathers find the alienation attempts so painful and fruitless that they eventually are extinguished from calling their children; they simply "give up." Placed in a no-win scenario, the father's "abandonment" (Hedges, 1991) unfortunately achieves the precise result aimed for by the individual suffering from Divorce Related Malicious Mother Syndrome.
Criterion 2C: Denying Participation in Extra-Curricular Activities
An integral part of the process of maintaining one's bond with one's child is to participate in activities that one did before the parents separated. School plays, team sports, and religious events are just some of the types of activities of importance. Malicious Mothers frequently engage in maneuvers designed to prevent participation in these activities.
One father was deliberately given the wrong date and time for an important event for the child. The child was asked by the mother, "I wonder why your father didn't want to come to see you today"?
One mother refused to provide the father with any information about any extra-curricular activities in which the children were engaged.
Prior to a child's soccer game, one mother told many of the team parents disparaging falsehoods about the visiting lather. When he came to watch his son's soccer game, many of these parents looked at him with angry eyes, refused to talk with him, and walked away when he moved toward them.
Malicious Mothers who engage in such behaviors rarely have to face penalties for such actions. Judges, attorneys, and policemen cannot involve themselves in every instance of blocked paternal access. Furthermore, most fathers cannot afford the financial requirements involved. As such, the cycle of access interference perpetuates itself.
Criterion 3A: Malicious Lying to the Children
Given their developmental status, children in a disputed divorce situation are quite vulnerable. When one parent decides to attack the other by lying to the children, examples of this type of malicious behavior may include some of the following.
One divorcing mother told her very young daughter that her father was "not really" her father even though he was.
An eight year old girl was forced by her mother to hand unpaid bills to her lather when he visited because the mother had falsely told the daughter that the father had not provided any economic means of support to the family.
One mother falsely told her children that their father had repeatedly beat her up in the past.
These examples of malicious lying can be contrasted with the more subtle maneuvers typically seen in Parental Alienation Syndrome, such as "virtual allegations" (Cartwright, 1993). Here, the mother setting up a Parental Alienation Syndrome may hint that abuse may have occurred, whereas the individual suffering from Divorce Related Malicious Mother Syndrome falsely claims that abuse has actually occurred.
Criterion 3B: Malicious Lying to Others
Individuals suffering from Divorce Related Malicious Mother Syndrome may engage a wide range of other individuals in their attacks upon the ex-husband. However, with this particular criterion, the individual with Divorce Related Malicious Mother Syndrome specifically lies to other individuals in the belligerency against the father. Some examples include the following.
One furious mother called the president of the (1500 employee) workplace of her divorcing husband, claiming falsely that he was using business property for personal gain and was abusing their mutual children at his work locale.
One woman falsely told slate officials that her ex-husband was sexually abusing their daughter. The child was immediately taken away from him and his access to her was denied.
During the course of a custody dispute, one mother falsely informed the guardian, who was investigating the parenting skills of each parent, that the father had physically abused her.
Snyder (1986) has reported on the difficulty imposed upon legal authorities when confronted with someone who is an excellent liar. Consistent with research on the inability of "specialists" to detect lying (Ekman and O'Sullivan, 1991), a skilled fabricator can be a compelling witness in the courtroom (Snyder, 1986). While sometimes seen in borderline personalities, Snyder (1986) notes that pathological lying (Pseudologia Fantastica) is not restricted to that particular character disorder.
Criterion 3C: Violating Law to Attack the Husband
Individuals suffering from Divorce Related Malicious Mother Syndrome have few if any boundaries in their campaign against the divorcing husband. Violations of law are common in many cases, although the laws broken may be relatively minor. However, in some cases, the violations of law may be quite serious.
One woman deliberately drove her automobile into the house of her ex-husband where their mutual children resided.
In the midst of a custody battle, one woman broke into the residence of her divorcing husband and stole important business papers.
An angry divorcing mother called a Christian evangelical television station and pledged $1000, giving the name, address, and phone number of her divorcing Jewish husband as the pledgee.
The above descriptions may remind the reader of certain personality disorders (e.g., antisocial, borderline, sadistic) but these behaviors may be demonstrated by individuals with Divorce Related Malicious Mother Syndrome who do not appear to meet official diagnostic criteria for an Axis II disorder. Further, in each of the four examples provided above, none of the Malicious Mothers involved was sentenced for such behavior by a Judge.
Criterion 4: Not Due to Another Disorder
In assessing the Divorce Related Malicious Mother Syndrome, it is important to note that many of the above clinical examples seem to have occurred in individuals who had no prior mental disorder diagnosis or treatment. In fact, one mother who engaged in extreme maliciousness toward her divorcing husband had several mental health professionals testify that she was not suffering from any type of mental disorder. Clearly, it would seem that individuals who have Divorce Related Malicious Mother Syndrome may or may not have a concomitant mental disorder.
In the author's experience, for each mental disorder that might come to mind to account for some of this behavior, an exceptional case presents. For example, in some cases an Adjustment Disorder might seem an appropriate diagnosis, yet one woman still denied her ex-husband visitation 10 years after the divorce. Other cases might suggest a possibility of a personality disorder diagnosis, yet one woman who repeatedly violated the law in attacking her ex-husband, received no personality disorder diagnosis despite being evaluated by masters level and doctoral level examiners. In some instances, Intermittent Explosive Disorder might be considered, yet the anger for many of the mothers does not appear to be intermittent.
Finally, the reader should appreciate that while diagnostic accuracy for certain psychiatric difficulties is not as good as one would like (e.g., the personality disorders, see Turkat, 1990), the problem is compounded in family law where incompetent mental health examiners sometimes become involved in the judicial process (Turkat, 195)3). Clearly, the relationship between Divorce Related Malicious Mother Syndrome and other mental disorders is a complex one which requires significant investigation.
DISCUSSION
The above description of the Divorce Related Malicious Mother Syndrome raises a variety of important clinical, legal, and scientific issues.
From a clinical perspective, families that involve a Divorce Related Malicious Mother Syndrome are subject to serious episodes of stress and distress. Yet, there is no scientific evidence on how to treat this phenomenon. It is particularly compromised by the fact that many of these cases that appear to meet the proposed diagnostic criteria deny that there is anything wrong with them.
An additional difficulty is that many therapists are unaware of this pattern of malicious behavior (Heinz and Heinz, 1993). As such, there are therapists who are "fooled" by such cases and, as noted earlier, will come to court testifying that there is nothing wrong with the mother involved.
From a legal perspective, there are some attorneys who may unintentionally encourage this type of behavior (Gardner, 1989). On the other hand, there are some attorneys who deliberately encourage such behavior, as the financial rewards for them are time dependent. In other words, the more involved the litigation process, the greater the profits for the attorney (Grotman and Thomas, 1990). However, even for the subset of attorneys for whom this may be true, there is a point of diminishing returns. Furthermore, independent of economic considerations, many who become involved with family law courtrooms find that these types of cases are not handled well (Greif, 1985; Levy, 1992).
The woman who is not disturbed "enough" to lose custody of her children in the courtroom will not have money denied to her because she engages in this behavior; nor will she go to jail. Thus, many clients report significant frustration when they and their children are exposed to this type of behavior, and the courts seem to do little if anything about.
In a review of pertinent law literature on bias against men in family law proceedings, Tillitski (1992) concluded that there is widespread discrimination. This is well illustrated by one family law Judge's statement that, "I ain't never seen the calves follow the bulls, they always follow the cow; therefore, I always give custody to the mamas" (Commission on Gender Bias in the Judicial System, 1992 p. 742). Similarly, it is noted that visitation rights of fathers are not enforced as rigidly as are child support orders (Commission on Gender Bias in the Judicial System, 1992). Such bias against men in family law proceedings results in a unique group of fathers who unintentionally become relatively helpless victims of the system (Tillitski, 1992). This situation would seem to reinforce much of the vicious behavior displayed by women suffering from Divorce Related Malicious Mother Syndrome.
The issue of sex distribution of the disorder certainly needs to be addressed. The overwhelming majority of custodial parents are female (Commission on Gender Bias in the Judicial System, 1992). Gardner (1989) has noted that Parental Alienation Syndrome appears most commonly in females, although it is possible for a male who has custody of the children to engage in the same type of alienating behaviors. The author's experience with Divorce Related Malicious Mother Syndrome is similar to Gardner's. However, the present writer has yet to see a case of a father engaging in all of the criteria listed. This does not mean that it is not possible for there to be a "Malicious Father" Syndrome. In fact, Shepard (1992) reports that there is significant abuse of some custodial mothers by non-residential fathers. On the other hand, it should be noted that there are females who are required to pay chiltl support, but we have yet to heara about "Deadbeat Moms." Given at the present time that a case in which the father met all of the criteria for Divorce Related Malicious Mother Syntlrome has yet to be documented, it appears advisable to await scientific evidence to guide issues of nosologic labeling.
How prevalent is the Divorce Related Malicious Mother Syndrome? The answer is unknown. Gardner (1989) reports that approximately 90% of all custody battles involve some aspects of parental alienation. Further, Kressel (1985) reviewed data indicating that up to 40% of maternal custodians denied visitation to the ex-husband in order to punish him. Relatedly, Arditti (1992) reported that 50% of a sample of divorced fathers (N = 125) indicated that visitation was interfered with by the mother. While aspects of parental alienation may be common, it is highly unlikely that such a percentage of maternal custodians would meet all of the criteria for Divorce Related Malicious Mother Syndrome.
In regard to incidence, it would appear through the title of this syndrome that the malicious behavior is precipitated by the divorce process.
However, this is clearly an empirical question. While the malicious actions may first be noted during a divorce process, it is possible that maliciousness may have been present earlier but undetected. Research on pre-divorce parental conflict (Enos and Handal, 1986) supports this speculation. Relatedly, it may also be that there are some cases of pre-existing mental disorder that have not been discovered until the stress of the divorce itself unfolds.
Finally, it should be noted that research on the nature of post-divorce family functioning is beginning to emerge. Some data exist on the role of parental conflict in children's postdivorce functioning (e.g., Frost and Pakiz, 1990; Furstenberg et al., 1987; Healy, Malley and Stewart, 1990; Kudek, 1988), but studies have yet to appear on the more extreme cases of Parental Alienation Syndrome and Divorce Related Malicious Mother Syndrome.
The Divorce Related Malicious Mother Syndrome represents an important societal phenomenon. The disorder affects children, parents, attorneys, judges, guardians, mental health professionals, and others. Until this phenomenon is explored more thoroughly in the scientific and clinical literature, the problems imposed by individuals suffering from Divorce Related Malicious Mother Syndrome will continue to plague us. Hopefully, the present manuscript will stimulate research so that clinical and legal management guidelines can be developed.
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Ira Daniel Turkat, Florida Institute of Psychology and University of Florida College of Medicine,
1225 Avenida Del Circo, Venice, Florida 34285.